tv The Communicators CSPAN May 26, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
the time to listen. god bless the united states of america. >> join us monday for c-span posted live memorial day coverage. at 1:00 eastern from the vietnam veterans memorial, speakers include leon panetta and tom selleck. live coverage begins at 10:50 on c-span. >> welcome to boston where "the communicators" is live on broke -- location. this week michael powell -- we talked with him as well as glenn britt who is chairman of time warner cable. >> michael powell, president of
the national cable and tele- communications association. you had a sit-down interview with the sec chairman. chairman jankowski talk about shared services agreements that need a closer attention. >> it is a subject that has come up someone significantly -- consistently. i think it was meant to signal that is one area that they may have some concerns when people are bundling power and leverage the right combination of these agreements. there may be something in there that concerns them. i assume that is what he was focused on. to be candid i have not heard much more about this beyond that. it is interesting they are focused on that. we will see what comes of that. >> any concerns for the cable
industry? >> for some of my members it is. this has been a touchy issue. there are operators that are strenuously continue to be concerned about rising programming costs, particularly in the broadcast for is -- phase. there are a whole lot of pieces to that, part of which are part of the government policy and regulation. and right or wrong the commission should solve elements of it. if it does not have the jurisdiction, it should say so and other things they think they can make a difference in, they should act on them. >> what were some of the other policy issues that came up in this year's cable show? >> i love when a show really seems focused on the business,
the consumer, and the technology and policy is not the biggest part of it. you do start to see the rumblings on if we are finally at the place where we will talk about a new telecom rewrite. the old statute is definitely old now. i do not know if everyone is that clear about what should replace it. that has been a health a conversation. it is not unique to cable. it is not unique to traditional cable communications. it is critical to where the country will draw that balance. some from the government mentioned the important conference in dubai this september with the ipu, which i think is a sleep area of worry to the industry. otherwise with those issues on
the margin, a little bit of cyber security has come up. i would say a little bit. the overwhelming feel has been, wow, the business is doing well. broadband is turning into a success story for america. >> what are some of the technologies introduced at this show? >>one involving comcast is the x1 platform. they announced boston will be the first city they deploy this technology in. the box limits what you can do with the guide and software and security. it is the gate keeping device of the network.
we can deliver more services on a cloud platform. the guide does not need to set under said. the box could live on a server in denver. so could applications and other services. we can innovate on that. we can fix once and distribute once. they could change the died overnight. they could change the guy in an hour. they could work with another company, a google or someone and build an application and hosted on the server or the cloud and the platform would be allowing you to do stuff. i think ultimately they want to deploy the platform to all the homes and their footprint. we start having that stop being a limitation on innovation. all cable companies are heading to some version of that. we have the verizon wireless here. we have very nontraditional companies that show. we have netflix, google,
microsoft, verizon, they chose to announce a platform that will allow them to search and identify an indexed, video streaming content and bring that to you or attach you to the conference. those are two things exciting here. >> you mentioned verizon was here. there is some agreement with comcast to they are working on a joint venture. as a former chairman of the ftc is that something that might attract regulators? >> that will require the government to look at it. i have every confidence it will get the scrutiny that you think anything should. it is not something that is free to escape the view of the commission. companies will argue some of these things should be outside
jurisdiction. they are wise to say, we are willing to have a conversation about all of this stuff and get the government's take on that. some things are interesting to me. some things raise my eyebrow to say, let's be thoughtful and vigilant about that. i think you should pause there before you start thinking a, b and see need to happen. i think we should always be guided -- this is something consumers are craving they are not getting. they do not want their wireless broadband networks to be managed as separate platforms of the time. when i take an apple ipad, i want to walk into my house. i wanted to go over my broadband network and let me watch hbo go. i do not want to go to it and say disconnect, connect to this network, go to 3g. people want broadband to be like
the air, available everywhere. i do not have to be a network manager every time a change. if this can help solve that problem, this is something they want solved. the government will ensure that they do. i think they are conscious of that. >> how has the business model of a cable company changed over the past two or three years? >> i think the biggest way is broad band. there are cable companies -- broadband might be the more significant part of their revenue than the traditional tv video distribution business would be. i am not that old. to me, cable was title 6. use of video and they like it. we are in every form of
communication business that exists in the world today. we package and bottle and sell video content. we are what one of the largest telephone providers. we develop software and applications for smartphones. we are in every one of those businesses. we are cable because our brand says so, but we are one of the pure communications platform providers, period. i am in the platform business. that is why we have a new ad campaign. it is cable, it is how we can act. we are the connective tissue to bring that to fruition. i am very proud of facebook's ipo. the market is trying to figure it out. a 28-year-old kid in eight years
could make $19 billion. that would not be possible if there was not a broad band platform that he could rely on. i am proud of my country. on to producers make great things come to life. >> -- entrepreneurs can still make great things come to light. i will go to my grave believe in human relationships are still the most important thing that make us different as people. business is a relationship. private-sector forms a relationship. social network can facilitate that. if my children's friends had never met, if they never went and had a coke with them or when to dairy queen, maybe social network helps to organize the activity. my child would be a sad person
is the friendships never did anything but the virtual. when the egyptians form, it still took people united ask people to make change happen. i think the genius of mark zuckerberg and others as they facilitate a group to group formation. that is still a people business. >> with state taking over the franchise agreement business, how will that affect local content and access to cable shows? >> i do not think it will have all that much effect. i guess the underlying assumption of that question is that regulatory approval that is somehow forcing companies to do something they otherwise would not be interested in doing. there are a lot of dollars living in hyper organize communities.
what are the hot products of groupon? coupons from localized -- zipcar, capital bike share, patch at aol, hyper localized content. google localizingesearch results. i do not think there is anything but a compelling story to serve the local market. whether that is news, advertising, shows and content and product. i do not think i care who my franchising authority is if i am making a decision about a program for the market. clucks i want you to talk about what the cable industry is doing to further expand broadband in the united states. >> it is something i think we
are proud of. we are the only big industry that steps up to that. chairman jankowski talks about that all the time. we have huge penetration of availability of broadband. people who have it available do not get it. the reason is not just price. we have signed up for cable to low income families across the country. hopefully we will bring together low-cost computer with digital literacy training and a low-cost broadband network. bringing those things together the best we can will help overcome this and get the country better position for the
information age. >> how do you determine who is low income and to qualify as? >> we are using the free lunch program as the metric. these are data sets we can evaluate and use as a criteria. if you are in a family that is eligible for free lunch, you will be available for this program. if you are at a school -- if your child goes to school, 75% for school lunch, we will serve anyone at that school. we are not going to make that distinction. you will be an advantage of that program as well. >> if we could return to policy. the verizon spectrum company deal is looking at by the sec. was there talk about that issue?
>> not much. this is one of the things where as they used to say, the matter is submitted. the companies have announced all they will announce. they submitted the deal for review. we are in that period where that is under way. we had a lot of government officials here and nobody seemed interested in talking about a because the but not any way. i used to live on that side. you can talk to me all day about pending transactions. it has not been the central story of the business of the show at the moment. i have been even someone surprised it has not been a topic here. >> finally as a former chair of the fcc, give us if you would your long view of light squared and how that spectrum deal fell apart at the fcc? >> i am not sure i am qualified to answer very thoughtfully.
i do not know the details. that was not involved in the deal in any way. they are not members of mine. i do not know the complexity of what they had to agree to. i can only say i have seen many attempts at models like that. i have always been a little bit -- when i was in the investment world for a while, i have been skeptical of that approach. i always admire somebody willing to put a lot of capital behind willing to take a risk. the number of very serious who adds that had to go right for you were pretty formidable. i knew where that spectrum was. i had been to that fight before in my life. i knew you would get caterpillar coming out of the woodwork. you will get military guys who wear stars on their shoulder. that is a lot to overcome. plus you are in satellite spectrum -- i guess i was always skeptical that one could
overcome all of the hurdles and then turn around and build a nationwide network had a very fast speed. let me reiterate, what do i know? i am not part of it. i do not know the details. they are smart people. it must have seen something that thought had promised. >> michael power is president and ceo. we are in boston at the 2012 cable show. thank you. >> at an earlier session, you mentioned that cable settop boxes could go away. >> the set top box performs two 43 functions we need because
traditional tv did not have the capability. our digital signals are encrypted so they are not stolen. we need a device that is able to speak with them. traditional tv's did not have the capability. in order to display program guide you need some shooting intelligence. also the ability to communicate to directions. traditional tv's did not have that. so we have a setup to allow us to display our services in the home that otherwise would not be displayed. consumers are buying devices that have intelligence and them. that could be a smart tv, and ipad, iphone, an >> box -- in
the number of these things. those have computer power and they can talk two ways. that will enable us over time to eliminate the separate settop box. the consumer will save their money and have a much better experience including where do you put the set top box. as long as people have older tvs, we will have some setup devices. it will take a long time to read that is traditionally where it is going. you can watch tv -- there is nothing attached to it. it is over why 5. -- wifi.
that will come only after everybody throws all their old stuff away. probably over a five or 10 year period. >> you also -- you mentioned wife. -- wifi. there is a new agreement with some companies like time warner. what is that agreement? >> we agreed to make a common standard so that we can authenticate our customers. you can use our wifi. i will talk about where we are building that. you can also use another cable operative's wifi. for example, let's say you are time warner broadband customer in manhattan. if you went to philadelphia, which is a comcast market, he would be able to use comcast
wifi. we are building this in areas where people congregate. it is not a substitute for the existing cellular network. it is not if you are driving your car. >> our company is starting an los angeles, and a little bit in new york and a little bit in charlotte this year. we are really focusing on going deeply and los angeles. we will go from there. >> speaking of ipads and other
devices, it is still reported 98% of us are watching the big tv, there seems to be a lot of energy toward tv everywhere being able to get tv on different devices. we're is the business model for that of people are still sitting in the living room? >> we think consumers want something we call the four a's. people want access to any content. that may be content a professionally by some of the people at this cable show. it maybe amateur video on youtube. a you to buy may -- a video i made my house. people want access to any
content. the second any is people want to access said on any screen. and ipad as a tv, and i found as a tv, and android as a tv. anything with a display can be a tv. they want access to any video on any device. that is the second any. the third any is any time. people want to be able to watch their content on their schedules. there is a phenomenon called -- rather than waiting one week, people are sitting down and consuming all the shows and a series of ones. that choice, convenience, is on
my time and not somebody else's time. that is the third any. the fourth any is any place. wherever i am, i want this. we think people like the idea of paying for this on one subscription. you know what it will cost. that is what we are seeking to offer. it is difficult to assemble the licenses to do this. the technology is available. that is where we think we are going. >> there was a " attributed to you.
>> i said that? >> that was attributed to you in an article. >> i believe that. if you look at our new branding campaign, it is very much built on that. as a business we are a middle man. we are and enable our. we are retailed. we are all those things. if we are talking about television, we by and large do not create television. we do have news channels and some other things. mostly we are buying them from other people who create them. most of the networks buy from other people who created, c-span being an exception. a cease and creates its gold content. -- c-span creates its own content. we are delivering it to people and we want to make that as easy
as can be. our new ad campaign is "enjoy better." you can fill in the blank. enjoy nbc better. enjoy c-span better. that is what we do. that is what is reflected in the " you gave me. >> as chairman, how much of your day -- how much of your time is spent working on issues that regulators and legislators care about in washington? we talked a lot about privacy, what about you? >> realistically we are in the infrastructure business. we sell services used by a lot of people many hours of the day.
that means we are important. that means we are regulated. that is just part of this business. we are regulated at the federal level, state level. we have to pay attention n. that takes a lot of my time. we have to continually explanted both consumers and regulators what we are doing, why we are doing it. that way we can tell our story so when there are issues, they can be dealt with in a context where people understand all the ins and outs. i spent a lot of my time on this kind of stuff. >> recently, speaking of regulation and local issues, mayors of several new york
city's wrote a letter to the fcc against the cable companies and verizon spectrum deal. they are saying it will prevent fios competition from coming into their cities. how important is that spectrum deal to cable companies? >> let me explain what we are doing. this deal is with the verizon wireless. verizon wireless is a separate entity that is 55% owned by verizon, 40% by a and international wireless company. it is the biggest wireless company in the world, but i could be wrong. it does not operate in the united states except through verizon wireless.
the deal is to sell spectrum to verizon wireless. also to let them sell our services as an agent. meaning we set the price and the products they can sell and is not any different than best by selling services. we can sell the verizon wireline products. we can sell the verizon wireless products is what i meant to say. i think it is interesting. time warner has many divisions. nobody was ever uncomfortable with the fact that one would with the fact that one would